By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Aside from being delicious, mushrooms also have underrated health benefits.
In a recent study, researchers discovered that mushrooms have high amounts of important antioxidants, namely ergothioneine and glutathione, which varied greatly among mushroom species.
Antioxidants are substances that have the potential to protect human cells from the effects of free radicals or molecules produced when the body breaks down food, or if the body is exposed to smoke or radiation.
Professor Emeritus of Food Science and Director of the Penn State Center for Plant and Mushroom Products for Health Robert Beelman said mushrooms are the highest dietary source of these two antioxidants.
Consuming food rich in these substances prove to be beneficial to heart health and may also help in lowering the risk of infections as well as cancer.
The recent findings were published in a recent issue of Food Chemistry.
According to the researchers, the amounts of antioxidants in mushrooms vary by specie. The porcini species, a wild variety, contains the highest amount of the two compounds among the 13 species that were tested.
As for the more common mushroom types like white button, Beelman said that it had less of the antioxidants compared to porcini but has higher amounts that most other foods.
Beelman added that these compounds weren’t significantly affected by cooking since they are heat stable.